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Giro d'Italia Stage 10: Sky's Uran wins first mountain stage, but Wiggins loses time again

Colombian climber rides to solo win on first mountain stage but Wiggins' Giro suffers another setback...

Rigoberto Uran of Team Sky attacked on the first big mountain stage of the 2013 Giro d'Italia at Altopiano del Montiasio, with his fellow Colombian Carlos Betancur of AG2R second, some 20 seconds back. However, there will be little cause for celebration at Sky, with Bradley Wiggins losing more than half a minute to rivals including race leader Vincenzo Nibali of Astana, who also picked up bonus seconds for finishing third, 31 seconds behind Uran.

Uran, winner of the best young rider's jersey in last year's Giro, now lies third on GC, 2 minutes 4 seconds behind Nibali and 1 second ahead of Wiggins, and it's possible that Sky may now have to assess whether it's the Colombian - who sacrficed time earlier in the race to help look after his team leader - who may in fact now represent its best challenge to Nibal and Cadel Evans, who remains second, 41 seconds off the lead, for the overall win.

Team Sky had sent Uran, who lay 9th on GC this morning nearly 3 minutes off the race lead, up ahead on the climb to the first big summit finish of this year's race, the Altopiano del Montiaso, and the Colombian rode off to what would be a convincing victory, but the big drama was happening in the GC group behind.

Hitting the toughest part of that ascent, which lasted about a kilometre or so and had a gradient hitting 20 per cent at its maximum, the GC group was split apart with Wiggins losing contact with rivals including Nibali and BMC Racing's Cadel Evans. Defending champion Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Sharp had already been dropped on the day's first big climb, the Passo Canson di Lanza, his title defence over as he lost more than 20 minutes by the end of the stage.

Sky had been in control of the stage as the road headed upwards for the final 21.5km towards the summit finish this afternoon, and in scenes reminiscent of Wiggins’ successful Tour de France campaign last year set the tempo at the front of the GC group as the final members of a 14-man group that had formed earlier on in the stage were picked off.

The final escapees, who had struggled to get away with the opening hour of the 167-koilometre stage from Cordenons ridden at a blistering pace, were swept up with 10km to go, just before Uran launched his attack.

With Kanstantsin Siustou having put in a huge turn at the front of the GC group now handing over to Dario Cataldo, and Nibali only having Valerio Agnoli at his service among his Astana team mates, it seemed that the advantage was with Wiggins.

An intermediate sprint point just before the hardest part of the climb saw Nibali jump ahead of the GC group to lead it across and take bonus seconds, and as the gradient increased, Wiggins, as well as Blanco’s Robert Gesink, began to fall off the back as AG2R’s Domenico Pozzovivo upped the pace and threatened to get clear.

In fact it was his team mate Betancur who got away in pursuit of Uran, taking second place for the second stage in a row, although unlike in Florence on Sunday, this time he was aware that the stage had already been won.

Nibali meanwhile outsprinted his rivals to take a few more bonus seconds on the line to consolidate his hold on the maglia rosa ahead of Evans, who at present seems to represent the biggest threat to the Italian adding this race to his sole previous Grand Tour victory, the 2010 Vuelta.

Giro d'Italia Stage 10 result  
1  URAN Rigoberto       SKY  4:37:42
2  BETANCUR Carlos      ALM    00:20
3  NIBALI Vincenzo      AST    00:31
4  SANTAMBROGIO Mauro   VIN    00:31
5  EVANS Cadel          BMC    00:31
6  MAJKA Rafal          TST    00:31
7  POZZOVIVO Domenico   ALM    00:31
8  KISERLOVSKI Robert   RLT    00:47
9  INTXAUSTI Benat      MOV    01:06
10 WIGGINS Bradley      SKY    01:08
11 NIEMIEC Przemyslaw   LAM    01:10  
12 SCARPONI Michele     LAM    01:10  
13 TROFIMOV Yury        KAT    01:10  
14 GESINK Robert        BLA    01:16  
15 PELLIZOTTI Franco    AND    02:11  
16 CARUSO Damiano       CAN    02:11  
17 CATALDO Dario        SKY    02:11  
18 KANGERT Tanel        AST    02:25  
19 HENAO Sergio         SKY    03:14  
20 MOUREY Francis       FDJ    03:16  
Overall Standings after Stage 10  
1  NIBALI Vincenzo      AST 38:57:32
2  EVANS Cadel          BMC    00:41
3  URAN Rigoberto       SKY    02:04
4  WIGGINS Bradley      SKY    02:05
5  GESINK Robert        BLA    02:12
6  SCARPONI Michele     LAM    02:13
7  SANTAMBROGIO Mauro   VIN    02:55
8  NIEMIEC Przemyslaw   LAM    03:35
9  POZZOVIVO Domenico   ALM    04:17
10 MAJKA Rafal          TST    04:21

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Super Domestique | 11 years ago

I know I said I'd stop but I haven't been able to when it comes to Declan's commentary!

I have 'learnt' to accept Sean's monatone voice, although he has been out of the "pela tone" a while now and prefer Magnus' more recent and up to date input - especially on equipment choice.

Declan's comments about top speed - such as 'really? on a bicycle?' made me cringe the other day! Plus his muttering when he thought Samual Sanchez was Bradley Wiggins at one point yesterday on returning from an ad break! That and never knowing if the chain came off, or it was a puncture or a gear issue - surely I'm not the only one yelling at the TV when I am meant to be working while its on in the background?

Oh and asking a question that has been tweeted to Sean but then answering it before Sean says a word!

OK - I'll stop and breath now!!!!

One other thing - the Giro is awesome isn't it. A big plus for me, as a recent Skyfosi convert, was to hear Dave B say last night that it's all about attacking from now. Yes, bring it on!  16

arrieredupeleton | 11 years ago

It's nice to have a bit of balance and knowledge on this forum. Whatever you think, you cant argue the Giro is ace!

By the way, when you see Mark Cavendish winning a flat stage later in the race, it's no wonder he's so pleased after hauling his arse over these mountains day after day. Matt Stephens' blog on the Grupetto in the days of Cipollini is worth a read:

bikeandy61 | 11 years ago

I definitely think Sky have to now protect Uran as much as and possibly more than Brad. He isn't going to make back any times on climbs and after the bad luck or whatever of ITS no 1 he's too far back to get it back on the second. His best bet is to recover (I am convinced there is a health issue), Sky back Uran to the point the other GC riders have to mark him and maybe Brad can make an escape.

TBH I never rated BWs chances better than podium if lucky or more probably top 5. Giro and Vuelta are too climber centric for Brad. Add in mountain top time bonuses (which he will rarely get as like Cadel he is a TTer who can hold near to the best climbers [and he don't have LAs drugs to give him the mountain kick] but not beat them to the line) and he needed to win every TT convincingly to get the overall. For much the Sam reason he can't win this year's Tour, too much grimpeur style climbing and insufficient TT to make up for it.

I can't see Iran winning though anything is possible but I do think Sky can get a podium and a top 5 too, which would still be bloody good.

Declan Quigley is the commentator. Shocking, does he know anything about cycling? I'd rather have Differs back and he was poor. Plus Kelly, ok he's a cycling legend but bloody he'll it's like listening to paint dry. Give us Rob Hauled or Brian Smith anyday. Magnus isn't too bad considering he is talking a foreign language (could you argue Sean is too?) but he's a little bit flat too, understandably.

Colin Peyresourde | 11 years ago

Having seen the stage and the way it panned out the gap between Wiggins and Nibali wasn't huge. That 20% gradient was the difference.

On one side Wiggins refusal to get out of the saddle and change tempo was at fault. On the more consistent French gradients his 'slowly, slowly catches the monkey' works. But sometimes Bradley, you need to send yourself into the red.

On the other, Bradley didn't look like toast at the finish. Once the gradient flattened he looked like he had more in his locker.

Wiggins isn't done yet, but he has to find a way to combat those attacks on these gradients.

arrieredupeleton | 11 years ago

Of course Wiggins has to expect a certain amount of pressure given how he's talked himself up so much. But he's off form, got various minor (?) ailments including chest infection and knee. If he had the same virus as Cataldo it's a wonder he's in the top 20, never mind 4th of 193 riders. He's doing the best he can given that the Giro is clearly a harder parcours than the gradual ascents of the Tour. I agree that he's never going to dance up the steep stuff a la Contador but give him a bit of credit, that just not how he rides. A podium is not beyond him and would be a good result.

As for Sky themselves, I maintain that they badly miss Sean Yates' DS skills. Brailsford wants all 3 GTs this year, so he's going to have to choose between the two. The danger is letting the race play out without being proactive about this and letting Nibbles gain more time in the process.

By the way, Nibali has been immense so far. He seems to have gained a lot of confidence this season and his little acceleration yesterday after his chain dropped was unbelievable. 'Hat' to him

bikeyourbest | 11 years ago

I know last year's Tour win for GB and Wiggins was grand, but let's face it...Wiggo sucks. He's boring, has one style of riding and the only reason he was able to trick everyone in 2012 was his team...clearly the strongest in France...and the fact that Evans was piss poor in 2012 AND - most important - Contador was NOT in France.

Let the Colombians out of their cages. The Giro suits them!

Lungsofa74yearold | 11 years ago

I'm not a fan of Evans, but considering his age (37?), this is an impressive ride - he just never gives up.

Sadly, I can't see Wiggo winning from here - lots more tough climbing to come and I can't see him putting Nibali or Evans in trouble. The Colombians on the other hand are a different matter...

edster99 | 11 years ago

I wish I could say I had confidence that 'the Wiggins' was going to come storming back - unfortunately I think Nibs is by far the strongest bet. I totally agree with the posters above - 4th on GC for a British rider is far from a disaster! And lets face it, no Brit has ever come in to a race in this scenario of being a defending Grand Tour winner and so having so much expectation heaped on them. I'd be getting off and walking on a stage like that, so I'm not going to dis the Modfather!

Stumps | 11 years ago

I beleive Wiggins has been suffering with a chest infection after all the rain earlier this week. Todays stage was his first without it hanging over him and i believe its taken a lot out of him.

If he can hang in tommorrow ok then let the flat stages go by we MIGHT see a better rider come out of it. If not then the team have to switch to Uran as no 1.

Dr. Ko | 11 years ago

I think Nibali played it perfect  19 - Sky will have a sleepless night with two riders and a second difference.  7
Remember Vuelta 2011 Cobo - Froome- Wiggins?
First putting the (big) money on Wiggins and later Froome loses by mere seconds  20

Metjas | 11 years ago

We're perfectly entitled to expect Wiggo to be in contention, if not in the lead - he said himself pre race he's never climbed better and the figures apparently are supporting that. Either there is an underlying health issue, although Brailsford has said he's fine, or he has underestimated the competition, especially in the TTs. Nibali looks so comfortable, even when he's low on team support. The predictable attack by Uran following the ferocious pace that Sky set on the two final climbs may just have backfired and killed off Wiggo's ability to deal with the steepest ramps. Let's face it, Wiggo is not an explosive natural climber that will dance up a 17% slope, the Giro is not the Tour. The plan has always been to defend a lead after the TT, not to have to go on the attack. New territory for Sky for sure, and it makes for fascinating tactics and racing, but hard to see how Wiggo, and indeed Sky can regain the initiative.

God knows what will happen in the Tour if Wiggo does not succeed in the Giro. Time is not on his side, and you can't switch off the competitive streak in a top athlete.

Colin Peyresourde replied to Metjas | 11 years ago
Metjas wrote:

We're perfectly entitled to expect Wiggo to be in contention, if not in the lead - he said himself pre race he's never climbed better and the figures apparently are supporting that.

New territory for Sky for sure, and it makes for fascinating tactics and racing, but hard to see how Wiggo, and indeed Sky can regain the initiative.

God knows what will happen in the Tour if Wiggo does not succeed in the Giro. Time is not on his side, and you can't switch off the competitive streak in a top athlete.

+1 - he is a contender and you expect him to contend.

The thing is that there few positive signs for Wiggins. He has slipped time needlessly due to his failing confidence on descents in bad weather, his superiority in time trialling has not paid a dividend, he has struggled to keep up with his rivals on the first day in the mountains and his luck is deserting him. As stated, he's not a climbers climber, there are no punchy attacks by the Mod God, and severe gradients do not favour him.

The positives for him are that his team appears to be stronger than Astana's. He still has 11 stages to turn it around and the giro throws up some great surprises.

Since the Olympics it has seemed that he has been happy to take a back seat to Froome (I know some may say this is team preparation of Froome for the Tour) and I just think it has meant he has taken his eye off the ball. Team Sky did not make any mistakes last year, but this year whenever Brad has raced thr Sky team seems replete with them (Giro Del Trentino a prime example). Some may say 'oh, just a mechanical', but these things always seem to get you when you're not at the top of your game e.g. Cadel Evans and the tacks - it just seems to work like that.

BikerBob | 11 years ago

Alas a few years ago we might have been raving about Wiggo's 4th place but things have moved on and with him apparently basing his whole season around the Giro people's expectations are high (as no doubt his salary is  3 )

He doesn't look at all comfortable and his apparent lack of descending skills are where he's lost most of his time so far. I sense there is more to this than meets the eye given Sky's meticulous preparation but I'm not sure we'll get to the bottom of things (whoops a bit of a pun there!) even after the end of the Giro?

notfastenough | 11 years ago

Good day for Uran, but you have to wonder whether Nibs let him go because he wasn't a GC threat, in which case he's not necessarily any more viable for the win than wiggo? It was always possible that Sky would send someone ahead to take the bonus seconds.

Colin Peyresourde | 11 years ago

I'm looking forward to watching the stage. Unfortunately Eurosport have sacrificed the evening replay for the Tour of California, just as its getting exciting.

Knowing what happens in the Giro, victory one day can mean failure the next. It's hard to get the consistency. Maybe with this in mind Uran attacks today and Wiggins tomorrow. Though there is no way Wiggins meant to lose time. If Sky can double team Nibali (and Evans) they may cut them down.

But my honest appraisal is that Wiggins has to hope for Nibali to weaken as at the moment he hasn't shown any form with which he can win this. Uran's form is also a cause for concern (for Wiggins) as his TT has not shown him to be the stronger rider overall, in fact considering all factors Uran deserves the team support - though Brailsford will know the numbers. But maybe this is a tactic to try and draw the other GC riders out?!

Some Fella | 11 years ago

It show how far we have come in such a short time when a British rider 4th on the GC of the Giro after a week is considered a 'disaster'.
Wiggins has had a couple of 'mares but he aint out of it yet. I just wish he would get out of the bloody saddle once in a while!

ElCynico | 11 years ago

I agree with arrieredupeleton - I think Wiggins is doing pretty well. Plenty of people losing more time. Aparently Springtime in Italy is rife with chest infections and pollen allergies - these could be playing a part.

Old Man Miller | 11 years ago

Not sure who the commentator is - but similarly unimpressed - bring on ITV 4 for entertainment.

Super Domestique | 11 years ago

Once again I was driven made by the commentary (sorry I will stop mentioning this!)

Great ride by Uran, although I'm not sure if he might have had an even bigger gap but I felt he was waiting for Brad for a while.

Still there is only a second between Brad and Uran.

arrieredupeleton | 11 years ago

Sky have to go with Uran now. He's proven over 3 weeks at the Giro and won't do any worse than Wiggins in the mountain TT. I can't see why they shouldn't go with the man who's in form.

Unlike most of the knee-jerk British press, I think Wiggins has done pretty well under the circumstances. Just look at Hesjedal...

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